Bible reading for October 5.
1 Kings 8.
"...that your eyes may be open night and day toward this house, the place of which you have said, 'My name shall be there,' that you may listen to the prayer that your servant offers toward this place." (1 Kings 8:29)
HIS NAME DWELLS THERE. What does it mean that the temple was God's house, or dwelling place? First, it does not mean that the building somehow contained God, as if he were closed up inside the house (vv 27-30). Solomon is clear about God's omnipresence -- even the highest heaven could not contain God (cf Ps 139:7-16; Jer 23:24; Acts 7:49). Secondly, and this will be seen later in Israel's history, the temple was not a good-luck token for the nation even while they were unfaithful. So, what did it mean that God would dwell among them in this house? At least two things can be seen: 1) It was the place where God's presence, name, and glory would be revealed (vv 9-10, 17, 21, 29, 60). That is, it would be the location where those who desired to know the covenant God could learn about him (his "name" = knowledge of him). And, 2) it would be the place of prayer and petition, especially for forgiveness, for people who wanted to be in relationship with the Lord (vv 30-52). That is, people of all backgrounds could come and call upon him -- "My name shall be there..." (v 29). Thus God's house was the place of fellowship with God, where he could be known and prayed to. The outcome of this would be that God's people would live together (dwell) with him as his forgiven, trusting, holy, and happy people (vv 61, 66).
REFLECT. We can now see how this building -- beautiful as it was with stones, gold, silver, and gems -- foreshadowed the Lord Jesus. He is the One who came to dwell among us (John 1:14; the Greek word for "dwell" is the same as in the Greek version OT for "tabernacle"). Jesus is the Bethel (Heb., meaning house of God) whom Jacob experienced (Gen 28:11-22; John 1:50-51). Jesus spoke of himself as the temple (John 2:19-21). It is through him that we know the Father (John 14:6-10; 17:6-8). We call upon the Father in Jesus' name (John 14:13-14). He himself is the once-for-all atoning sacrifice, the place of our forgiveness -- "For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross" (Col 1:19-20). All who draw near to God through Jesus shall be saved and brought into eternal fellowship with the Lord (Heb 7:25; Rom 10:12-13). We must ask ourselves, do we truly see the glory of God in the face of Christ (2 Cor 4:6)? Are we continuing to draw near to him for the grace we need (Heb 4:16)? Are we making free use of prayer in every circumstance of life to call upon the name of the Lord in praise, confession, and petition? Also, knowing all this, how can we get a better picture of what NT corporate worship (the church gathering) should mean to us?
"And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ." (Ephesians 5:18-21)
FAMILY MATTERS. Paul is continuing to give directions on how our Christian lives should be ordered, both in the church congregation and in our homes. Verses 1-21 focus on principles of holy relationship within the family of God, and then, verses 22-33, within marriage. Two important truths to note here: 1) the dynamic for holy living comes from the Holy Spirit, who moves us to abandon immoral, foolish talk, and fills our mouths with God's praise. He it is, as the hymn says, who "tunes my heart to sing his grace"* And 2) God's pattern for marriage has not changed from the beginning. Paul's teaching on headship and submission within marriage is connected to the principle of Christ's relationship with the church. This is highly offensive today to our postmodern, western culture, as is any notion of authority. This passage, however, does not promote abuse nor inequality, but rather puts forth a loving headship (the husband serving unto death) and a loving submission (the wife showing respect for God's order). The daily outworking of this pattern may vary according to details and personalities, but these principles remain in force for Christians today.
*Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wand’ring from the face of God;
He, to save my soul from danger,
Interposed His precious blood.
-- Lyrics by Robert Robinson (1735-1790). Read the interesting story of Robert Robinson (1735-1790) at wordwisehymns.com/2010/06/09/today-in-1790-robert-robinson-died/
Image credit: photo of page from Moravian Church Hymnal (1876). We are following the Robert Murray M'Cheyne (RMM) two-year reading schedule, as arranged by D. A. Carson. Scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. One recommended resource is NETBible.org, a ministry of bible.org.